2018 is almost in the books, but the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
(11-16-1, 23pts.) have three games left, including two against the Jamestown Rebels (15-9-3, 33pts.) before the holiday break.
Home Sweet Home
After a five game road trip over two weeks time, the Knights are ready to return home to Revolution Ice Centre where they’ll host the last three games they play in December. The other home the players may be thinking about is the one where mom and dad are waiting. Several rookies on the Knights are experiencing the first year of junior hockey and being away from their friends, families, and homes they grew up in.
“These are the toughest games of the season,” said head coach and general manager Tom Kowal. “These kids have been away from their mom, dad, girlfriends, pets, you name it. Now they’re down to single digits on the calendar until they go home. It’s gonna be a battle. Hopefully everyone doesn’t have their bags packed yet, and they’re still thinking hockey and can have mom and dad wait a little longer.”
Last weekend against the Northeast Generals, the Knights saw Jeffrey Bertrand and Brett Postula each have two goal games. Adrian Danchenko scored a pair on the weekend, and Tyrone Bronte had an assist in all three meetings against the Generals as well.
What people may not have realized was that forward William Otwell led the team in points over the Generals series. The rookie forward had four points, including a three assist game Saturday in Wilkes-Barre’s 4-0 win, the first multi-point game in junior hockey. One day later, Otwell chipped in with the first goal of his NAHL career.
The Texas native was sat the previous four games as a healthy scratch, but his return seems like a clear message to the coaching staff that #29 should remain in the lineup.
The Knights need to replicate their performance on the road from the last two weeks. In the five away games, Wilkes-Barre plowed through the opposition, outscoring them 20-14. The Knights also managed five power play goals and now have the second best power play across the NAHL. Their penalty kill has been steadily improving, having gone from a bottom five to currently ranking 13th in the league.
With three games left before the holiday break, the team returns home where they last beat the New Jersey Titans late November. If Wilkes-Barre/Scranton can maintain the pressure they put on teams on the road, then the formula of success should carry over, allowing the club to further their push up the standings.
For What It’s Worth
Jamestown leads the season series with a 4-0 advantage thus far.
Eight games remain between the teams. The Knights and Rebels see a bunch of each other beginning this weekend, as six of the next seven games those clubs play will be against one another.
Wilkes-Barre is down to just 12 games left at Revolution Ice Centre this season, having played a heavy home schedule the first half of the year.
Forwards Gabe Temple and Lincoln Hatten will be unavailable for the Knights Friday, as the pair will serve a suspension. Temple’s will last two games, keeping him off the weekend.
The Rebels have points in eight of their last 10 games. The Knights have won five of their last six.
Game time is set for 7pm at Revolution Ice Centre Friday night. Broadcast coverage can be found on HockeyTV.